Our good friend Shawn Miller from Virginia Speed, the LS powerhouse that built the 388-inch LSX bullet in our Project BlownZ Camaro a couple of years ago, sent over some new images of his revamped 1979 Camaro that he’ll be carrying back into Outlaw 10.5 competition this spring for the first time since 2009, and needless to say, this bad boy is going to turn some heads.
When Miller broke a rod in his twin-turbo small block at event in Maryland nearly four years ago, he parked the car and set out to completely overhaul the drivetrain to keep the performance level on par with the increasingly powerful cars in the category. As is often the case with gearheads, Miller admits he got a little carried away with the project, but the end result is nothing short of stunning from an aesthetic perspective, and no question with the power potential to match it.
“This project was more than just the engine…it was everything from the engine to the transmission, the turbos. I redid everything. Virtually everything from the firewall forward is all new,” said Miller.
Now resting between the framerails of this this second-gen Camaro is a monster 670 cubic inch big block Chevrolet-based bullet with a Donovan 11.5-inch deck height block, featuring a Crower billet crank, GRP aluminum connecting rods, JE Pistons, Brodix PB2005 cylinder heads, A Jesel belt drive and valvetrain setup, Manley titanium intake and exhaust valves, and a very trick Marcella-built intake manifold. The engine management is handled by a unit from Mick’s Performance, complete with the wiring harness, injectors, ECU unit, and all of the sensors. Miller has set the car up to run on alcohol — sans an intercooler — just as many of the heavy hitter turbo cars in the Pro Mod and Outlaw 10.5 world are doing these days. Feeding the powerplant is a pair of Precision Pro Mod twin 94mm turbochargers.
In an effort to combat O-ring failures that he’s seen on many methanol-burning cars, Miller went with some ringless injectors from Mick’s and modified a typical fuel rail to fit a No .6 O-ring fitting and then bent the tubes to go over into each individual injector. “There are O-rings in the fitting where they go into the rail, but they’re captured, so there’s no way they can blow out. It just eliminates that injector O-ring that can blow out.”
My whole thing is, if I do something that everybody has done, I’m going to end up with the same results, at best. So, I kind of like going a different route. You can see that in the entire car, because it’s not the same as anybody else’s stuff.
Another unique part of the combo that Miller opted for was coil packs in lieu of the distributor, which are cleanly mounted on the firewall and routed up to the engine. “We’re just trying something new with the coil packs. My whole thing is, if I do something that everybody has done, I’m going to end up with the same results, at best. So, I kind of like going a different route. You can see that in the entire car, because it’s not the same as anybody else’s stuff.”
An ATI Superglide 4 transmission with an ATI converter will transfer the power to the rear end via a new PST carbon fiber driveshaft. Miller has made a number of other small changes, including the addition of a chromoly driveshaft tunnel, re-valved the shocks, made some four-link adjustments, built a massive new cowl hood to fit over the Marcella intake, and gave the car a fresh new coat of paint.
Miller hopes to get the car out “within weeks” to make some testing hits, possibly at the always-quick Maryland International Raceway not far from his Virginia Beach home. From there, he and the Virginia Speed gang will be hitting some of the major races in the eastern part of the country, including the Shakedown in Norwalk, Cecil County’s monthly street car events, and others.
“This project started out with just putting the big block and we were going racing. But when I pulled it part, everything was getting old. The EFI system had been on there since 2000, and the transmission I had had seven or eight years on it. I didn’t want to go out and have a bunch of issues with old parts, so it turned into a project of replacing everything and then it became wanting to do something different than everybody else does. It’s been a long, time-consuming project.
Miller continued, “it didn’t matter what I was doing, I’d always step back and say ‘well it won’t cost me that much more to do this.’ There must have been a hundred of those moments where I said, ‘I’ll just make it a little bit better.’ Then it got to where it is now, where I think I tripled the cost of what I’d originally planned on. It definitely got out of hand, but I’m very happy with it.”